Authored by: Nigel Vincent

The World’s Major Languages

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415353397
eBook ISBN: 9780203301524
Adobe ISBN: 9781134261567


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‘Italy’, in the words of Count Metternich, ‘is a geographical expression.’ He might with equal truth have added that Italian is a linguistic expression. While there is now, almost a century and a half after political unification, a fair measure of agreement on the grammar and the morphology and, to a lesser extent, on the phonology and lexis of the standard language as used in the written and spoken media and as taught in schools and to foreigners, it is still far from being the case that Italians speak only, or in many instances even principally, Italian. It is appropriate, therefore, to begin this chapter with a general survey in two dimensions, historical and geographical.

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